In late 2017 we looked at the viability of putting together an App for Linked Magazine & Business Directory. We set up the platform and App, but given the extra costs involved to publish, we wondered if it was a sensible use of our very limited resources.
The App would certainly give a neat little icon on mobile devices, and would click through to our magazine directory listing etc, but little else of any advantage. Readers would have to choose to download the App to their devices and, other than having the Linked Magazine icon on personal devices, the reality is that an App doesn’t actually deliver anything more than we already have set up with our responsive directory platform.
We decided to put it to our readers and found that of the 2761 people that answered the poll, 57% felt there was no need as the current directory listing did the same job.
We have done our homework, and we feel that, for Linked Magazine, an App would be an unecessary gimmick. Good Apps are expensive to publish, costing hundreds of pounds each year, and this cost we would have to pass on to our directory listings. That doesn’t strike us as worthwhile, necessary or fair. And truthfully, we do not have that kind of cash to splash!
Our current directory uses a modern, responsive website platform. Users access the page, and can see a drop-down categorised listing immediately. All contacts emails, phones, maps etc are activated with one-click. One-click to phone or email etc. This makes it as good as an app, and actually better.
Available anywhere – Websites can be accessed wherever there’s a connection to the internet and a device that supports a web browser. You can easily access a mobile website whenever you decide you want to summon it.
Device Agnostic – Not only can you access a website wherever you are, without having to download anything, you can also access it from any device, unlike apps, because browsers work with practically every mobile, tablet, and desktop situation.
Instantly Updated – Mobile websites also have the advantage of being able to update at any time and users instantly seeing the end result of the update. Because every device is accessing the same servers, you won’t have to do any extra work beyond testing your updates on various browsers before you ship it. Apps, on the other hand, need to be manually submitted to the app store for review before updating.
Findability – Websites are easily findable and accessible through search engines, links, and sharing URLs. App stores have notoriously bad search functionality. Apple claims to be working on the user experience of their App Store, but right now the searching and finding of specific apps is flawed at best.
Can’t Be Deleted – Websites are always accessible whenever you need them. While some people may feel the unrelenting desire to delete entire websites, it’s just not possible. With apps, you need to download them, and if you get bored of the experience or it’s no longer useful, you need to delete it to save space or clean up your home screen. Some may find this a hassle.
Less Expensive – Websites, in general, are less expensive to build and maintain. Even if you have a big database and need to render thousands of products, a website is still going to be cheaper than opting for a native application. It just takes more hours to program an app, there’s no getting around it.
If, down the line, our directory listings would like us to have an App then we are happy to look at this again. As things are it seems to offer no great advantage for our directory and would incur much higher costs.